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Rutland UK Finally Signs Extended Fibre Broadband Rollout Deal with BT

Wednesday, Aug 12th, 2015 (5:19 pm) - Score 445

The small rural county of Rutland in England is to benefit from increased “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) coverage after it became one of the last Broadband Delivery UK projects to sign a £1.1m Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) contract with BT, which will push the service out to another 900 premises.

The original 2012 contract pledged to make the same service available to over 90% of the county’s 17,000+ homes and businesses by the end of 2013, with a further 7% being enabled using funding from Rutland’s council. A recent public consultation suggested that altogether this equates to around 90% with access to “superfast” (24Mbps+) speeds.

Rutland’s first contract eventually completed in 2014 and uptake in related areas now stands at 43% (this equates to about 5,000+ premises), which is higher than any other BDUK and BT project.

Bill Murphy, BT’s NGA Managing Director, said:

Digital Rutland is a major success story and a shining example of how the public and private sectors can work together to achieve just about anything. The council was one of the very first to recognise the opportunity that fibre broadband provides and has been an enthusiastic, determined, and committed partner. The end result of this hard work is the best take-up rates for fibre broadband anywhere in the country. For that, Rutland should be very proud.”

In terms of the new contract, there’s no clear confirmation of where the £1.1m has come from, although we have a pretty good idea. Most recently we reported that the local authority and BT had found an additional £1.07m from “savings” in the first contract (here) and BDUK has also committed another £180,000 to the area.

Apparently the new contract will begin in April 2016 and focus on areas like Barleythorpe, Bisbrooke, Braunston and Pickworth. The press release states that, once completed, this will have made “fibre broadband” available to 94.6% of local homes and businesses (we’re not sure what the % figure will be for “superfast” speeds).

BT also claim to be “exploring solutions” for the remaining properties, with the aim of ensuring that all Rutland homes and businesses can access speeds of at least 2Mbps (Universal Service Commitment). Mind you this could soon be superseded by a 5Mbps USO, assuming that ever gets out of the Government’s “review” phase.

On the flip side there is still concern about the way that BT has been handing back some areas that were previously designated for deployment as part of a separate commercial roll-out. The village of Braunston-in-Rutland was originally due to be upgraded at a cost of around £15k, but Openreach later re-estimated a cost of £45k and ruled it unviable. Councils tend to look upon such developments with distain.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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